Contrary to popular belief, manufacturing productivity in the US in the early '90s was ahead of Japanese and German productivity. But wide variations across sectors indicated that all three countries had opportunities to improve by adopting best practice manufacturing processes.
Objectives and Approach
MGI's objective in studying manufacturing productivity is to understand productivity as a fundamental measure of performance and identify reasons for differences in productivity across the US, Germany, and Japan.
Automotive Assembly Sector
Organization of labor and design of manufacturing, not high tech factories or worker skills, are key factors for productivity. Intense competition with best practices drives management to improve productivity.
Heavy Manufacturing Sector
Standard parts and products plus factory automation give metalworking companies in Japan a productivity advantage. Industry consolidation and the switch to labor-saving designs, equipment, and organization drive better productivity rates.
Global competition and diffusion of technology drive convergence. The cross-border activities of industry leaders are the major conduit for this convergence.
Processed Food Sector
Persistence of craft-based techniques in food processing has hindered labor productivity in Japan. The US food sector is highly industrialized while Germany's is in transition.